PRESS STATEMENT - Industry and Unions Call for ‘Customs’ Bill to be Amended

Manufacturing trade associations have joined forces with trade unions in a united call on MPs to amend the ‘Customs’ Bill. In a letter published today in the Financial Times, leaders from eleven national organisations urge Parliament to strengthen the UK’s new ‘trade remedies’. This is needed to defend British manufacturing against anti-competitive trade practices.

The Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill, more commonly called the ‘Customs Bill’ receives its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday (8th January). The group has sent a briefing to MPs highlighting the Bill’s weaknesses on trade remedies, and suggesting ways it could be improved to better defend UK manufacturing jobs.  

Gareth Stace, Director of UK Steel said:

“A significant cause of the recent steel crisis was the illegal dumping of steel by Chinese, state supported, producers onto the UK market. To ensure that this doesn't happen again, as we leave the EU, the UK needs an effective trade remedies regime, that enables free trade to take place, in what is a global market. Unfortunately, in its current form, the ‘Customs Bill’ will fail to achieve this goal. All we want is a level playing field.”

Dr Laura Cohen MBE, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation said:

“Effective EU trade remedies have helped our sector to recover and grow in recent years. We’re deeply worried that the ‘Customs Bill’ would create UK trade remedies that are significantly weaker than the EU or any other major economy. If Government take on board our proposed changes, we’d be much happier”.   

Tony Burke, Unite’s Assistant General Secretary for Manufacturing said:

“Instead of free trade, the ‘Customs Bill’ will create a free-for-all! If the UK has the world’s weakest trade remedies, many thousands of high quality jobs in manufacturing are at risk across the country. This is too important an issue for the Government to carry on regardless. They must make significant improvements to the Bill”.  




Notes to Editors

Contact Information:

Dr Laura Cohen MBE, Chief Executive, British Ceramic Confederation (and MTRA Chair), 07827 358613

Gareth Stace, Director, UK Steel, 07779 044678

Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary, Unite the Union, 07831 659939

For filming opportunities or other enquiries contact Tom Reynolds,, 07850 828717

About Us

The Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance (MTRA) is made up of the following organisations:

Agricultural Industries Confederation; British Ceramic Confederation; British Glass; Chemical Industries Association; Confederation of Paper Industries; Mineral Products Association; UK Steel; Community; GMB; TUC; and Unite

Our Four Concerns & Letter to the Financial Times

MTRA members have four primary concerns with the Trade and Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bills currently before Parliament (detailed alongside possible solutions in the attachment):

  1. Inadequate provision for treatment of state distortions and non-market economy situations.
  2. The creation of a mandatory lesser duty rule with no exceptions.
  3. The introduction of an experimental, unprecedented economic interest test.
  4. Creation of an, as yet, undefined public interest test in addition to the economic interest test.

Further information on these concerns is in this document

FT Letter

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